Analysis on claim Felipe Massa over 2008 World Cup

Analysis | Massa's claim over '08 is hopeless - Here's why

5 April at 09:17

A huge riot suddenly seemed to be in the making. Yet the announcement that Felipe Massa will investigate whether he can still successfully challenge the World Championship result is nothing more than a final convulsion of the still disappointed Brazilian. Indeed, any claim is utterly hopeless.

Back to 2008. At the Singapore Grand Prix, Nelson Piquet Jr. deliberately caused an accident (as it turned out afterwards), allowing his teammate Fernando Alonso to make a 'free' pit stop behind the safety car. As a result, the Spaniard remained in the lead and later won the race.

Expensive points wasted

Massa had visited the pits shortly before the incident with Piquet, only to return to the track in 13th place. He was thus disadvantaged by the safety car. It is difficult to overtake on Singapore's street circuit, so Massa lost expensive points in the battle for the world title. In the end, Lewis Hamilton took the championship, just one point ahead of Massa.

The Brazilian, racing for Ferrari at the time, stated in an interview with the Brazilian edition of Motorsport that he was looking at overturning the outcome of that title fight. According to Massa, the FIA was aware back in 2008 that Piquet Jr. crashed on purpose. For that, he refers to a recent interview with former F1 owner Bernie Ecclestone. However, the motorsport federation decided not to intervene.

The question now is: what could the FIA have done that would have allowed Massa to take the title? Suppose the FIA had disqualified Alonso in 2008. In that case, all finishers would have moved up one place. Nico Rosberg would have won the Grand Prix for Williams and Lewis Hamilton would have been second. Instead of six points, he would have earned eight. Massa would have moved from 13th to 12th. From zero points to zero points. In short, the difference in the final World Championship standings would have actually widened!

Sticking to the regulations

So for the legal aspect. When you participate in a sporting event, in this case the Formula One World Championship, you automatically agree to the regulations in force. The FIA's International Sporting Code explicitly and very clearly states that post-race protests are not allowed and any right to a review expires 14 calendar days after a race. Moreover, the final standings of the World Championship are irreversible after the annual FIA awards ceremony. There are no exceptions to this.

Also, every participant in Formula 1 - so Massa as well - has agreed that the FIA's independent International Court of Appeal is the sole competent party in the event of disputes. Massa can therefore apply to no other court than that of the FIA itself, which will always follow its own regulations. The Brazilian is of course allowed to apply to the international sports tribunal CAS. Only, the motorsport federation's statutes state, the CAS can only be asked about doping cases. There is no question of that.

The eternal pain

Many Formula 1 fans remember the moment well: Felipe Massa crossing the line first at Interlagos in Brazil during the closing Grand Prix of the season in 2008. In his pit box, tears were already flowing profusely. Massa was world champion in Formula 1. Until that crucial moment in the final corner, where Hamilton passed Timo Glock after all, securing fourth place. It was just enough to outsmart Massa in the final standings.

Massa never got over the defeat. This had been his chance, his only opportunity in his long career, to become champion. A Toyota passed at the last corner disrupted the ultimate dream of following in the footsteps of Ayrton Senna. Still it hurts him horribly. In that light, it is understandable that Massa - even many years later - wants to do everything possible to still enter the history books. The bad luck for him is that the 2008 book has long since been written and there will be no updated reprint.